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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: birthday (05/23/05)

TITLE: Blow out the candles
By Penny Baldwin


“Isn’t she beautiful?” Sarah was showing Marsha some pictures of her Granddaughter; she was just a couple of days old. Although Marsha wasn’t listening to what Sarah was saying. “Sorry, what did you say?” “Oh Marsha” She said, sounding a bit tired. “I was saying, isn’t my granddaughter beautiful? Marsha was still distracted in her thoughts, but she gave a half-hearted answer. “Oh yes”.

Sarah could see Marsha wasn’t having a good day, so she decided it was time to go home and make tea. They said goodbye on the doorstep. “I’ll come round to see how you’re getting on tomorrow, ok?” Marsha was still distracted by her memories, passing through her mind like speeding headlights. “Mmmm, ok.”

Sitting in her pink and yellow rocking chair, Marsha was talking, or so it seemed, to the picture on the wall.

“My beautiful curly haired baby has gone." In her mind, she was back there again, rocking to and thro. Closing her eyes, she could almost feel the baby she once held in her arms. Her baby wasn’t strong enough to survive, and was born with some internal organs not yet properly developed.

It was too hard to bear; being only 21, with no mother to talk to, and no dad to hug. Marsha let it all out. All the pain, frustration, and anguish were too much for her. How she wished she could turn back time. The rocking chair creaked, back and forth, back and forth. Lost in thoughts of sorrow, she let the tears run down her face, like runny custard. The time seemed to drag on and on.

Then, Marsha got up, saying quietly to herself, “come on girl, pull yourself together”. She went into the kitchen to get everything ready. It was getting chilly, so she turned the heater up, put the candle on the cake, and lit it. Marsha closed her eyes, “I’m missing you my beautiful baby. Happy Birthday Molly, I love you."

A matter of minutes passed by.“Okay darling, it’s time to blow out the candles. After all, they celebrate Jesus’ birthday everyday, so I can do the same for you.”

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This article has been read 791 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Michelle Burkhardt05/30/05
Very sad story. Easy to follow except at the end. Who is they and how does Jesus' birthday get celebrated every day?
Phyllis Inniss06/01/05
Sad story. Just a little unsure about the ending.
Val Clark06/03/05
Short but beautiful. Grief can catch us out at all sorts of unexpected moments. Sorting out paragraphing for speach changes and a clearer ending would help the reader connect more closely with your story.
darlene hight06/03/05
I had a little trouble following the story. I think that starting with the picture of the Granddaughter might have been what caused the confusion. Your descriptions,however, were quite good and it was easy to feel the pain that the girl was feeling. Details are important but especially with telling exactly what is happening either through the dialogue or the events. Here is what I think was happening but much of it happened through guess work. I think that it is the one year anniversary of a baby's death.
Maxx .06/03/05
I could feel the grief in the piece. Yes, it could have been organized a bit tighter but capturing the emotion like you did is 90% of the battle!
Pat Guy 06/04/05
You captured the grief of this mother very well and have the makings of a great story. Just a little tweaking is all it needs! ;) Good job.
Deborah Porter 06/06/05
Penny, I wanted to make a point of visiting your entry this week and giving you a bit of encouragement. As everyone has said, you've got a sweet story that just needs a bit of tweaking. So I've copied it and will do a bit of editing to give you an idea of what we mean. Could you write to me at debporter@breathfreshair.org and I'll send you my editing suggestions. You are so faithful entering each week and so enthusiastic, which is wonderful. I want to give you something in return. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Sally Hanan06/08/05
There is one thing about you as a writer Penny and that is that you always have such sweet, touching entries. With all those helpful editors around now I expect you see your name very soon with a ribon by it :)